Mark Your Calendars – The Philip Johnson Glass House Tour

glass house

Just in! We have secured two 10-person tours of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT for Wednesday, October 3, 2007. In case you haven’t heard, the amazing Philip Jonson Glass House will open to the public for guided tours this summer and early fall only. When I spoke to the booking agent this morning, 80% of the tours had already been taken and October was our earliest possibility. Don’t miss out on this rare treat!

We will be booking a small luxury motorcoach to take us down to New Canaan for what I’m sure will be a glorious fall day. The guided walking tours are for ten at a time and take approximately an hour and a half each. While one set of us takes off for the 1:00pm tour, the others can stroll around the lovely town of New Canaan and take in the shops and restaurants. While the 2:00pm tour takes off, the first group can relax and enjoy the town. It should be a perfect day.

If you would like to read more about the Glass House, please visit their website at and read the wonderful article in this past Sunday’s New York Times.

More information and registration forms well be mailed out in the coming weeks so mark your calendars and join us for this exclusive peek at Philip Johnson’s amazing architecture.

(More about the Glass House after the jump.)


Regarded as one of the world’s iconic, mid-century modernist structures, the Philip Johnson Glass House began in 1949 as a five-acre parcel of land containing the Glass House, Brick House and connecting courtyard. The site has grown over the course of nearly 50 years, and stands today as Philip Johnson’s 47-acre canvas, showcasing innovations in the fields of architecture, art and landscape design. Each decade, new structures were built, artwork was acquired, and landscape was sculpted; the site evolved into a unique modernist campus that was also a place for the support and cultivation of architects, artists, and designers.

Philip Johnson built the Glass House in New Canaan as his private residence, and used it continuously until his death in 2005. Known for its play of light and relationship to the surrounding landscape, the Glass House is constructed of sheets of quarter-inch glass divided and supported by black steel pillars with no interior walls. Johnson considered the house to be a “viewing platform,” and its purpose was to provide a vantage point on the landscape. Johnson interchangeably referred to the entire site including the house as “the Glass House.”

The site encompasses fourteen structures—eleven structures designed by Johnson and three vernacular structures original to the property and renovated by Johnson and Whitney. The Johnson-designed structures include: the Glass House (1949), the site’s main pavilion; Brick House (1949), the site’s guest-house; Pool (1955/6), a circular concrete pool with a rectangular platform and an element in the geometric composition of the site; Lake Pavilion (1962), a pre-cast concrete structure sited on a man-made pond; Painting Gallery (1965), an earth berm construction inspired by a classical tomb; Sculpture Gallery (1970), a glass-roofed gallery with five floors inspired by Greek villages; Entrance Gate (1977), a monumental concrete and aluminum construction; Library/Study (1980) used as Mr. Johnson’s study and housing his collection of architecture books; Ghost House (1984), an open structure of chain-link fencing that refers to the separate work of architects Frank Gehry and Venturi Scott Brown; Lincoln Kirstein Tower (1985), inspired by the choreography of George Balanchine and a tribute to Johnson’s friend from Harvard College who later founded the New York City ballet, Lincoln Kirstein; and Da Monsta, a visitor’s pavilion (1995) that was inspired by the architectural work of Frank Stella.

The site also has three vernacular buildings that Johnson renovated to integrate them with the property and its surrounding landscape. These buildings provided the context for many daily activities at the Glass House, and the landscape with its stone walls, foot paths, and bridges, and were the organizing principles. A 1735 farmhouse remodeled ca. 1999, known as Grainger, was intended as a retreat for Johnson and Whitney. It will now accommodate the site’s education programs. Whitney’s residence, Calluna Farms, originally built in about 1890, will be used for administrative offices and residential fellowships. Completed as a barn in the late 19th century, Popestead was remodeled as a house in the 1920s and again by Johnson and Whitney in 1996. It will continue to be used as a staff residence.

Artwork on the site includes work by important artists who were longtime friends of Johnson and Whitney whom they supported throughout their careers including: John Chamberlain, Lynn Davis, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Ibram Lassaw, Andrew Lord, Brice Marden, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, George Segal, Cindy Sherman, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.


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